I only neuter my females when absolutely necessary for physical health reasons. I do not neuter males. When I was young and very ignorant I had a male neutered because the person from whom I fostered him suggested that I do. I leave them entire for all the reasons that Zande has indicated and many more. Having said that, I accept that it has to become a necessity for some owners because of their circumstances. It doesn't cure any of the problems that are suggested however in my opinion.
My 11 month basenji is also a good boy - not too aggressive , does not mark or pee in the house. We live in typical suburb neighborhood so dog is always on leash when he is outside . Only in dog park or boarding facility he is not on leash. We do not plan to breed or show . Ideally i do not want him neutered unless keeping him intact will create health problem later /when he is older Or if older age neutering is harder?.
I need to board him sometimes when we are out of town and many places want neutered dog or else they will keep him in kennel / not let him play with other dogs which feels cruel.
Also I do not know what other dog owners will think or say when i take him to dog park unneutered as recently i noticed he chases and smells female dogs.
So that's my main concern but i am tempted not to put him under knief for this reason. If there is good reason to neuter (such as health reason) then only i will neuter him and hence i am seeking opinions.
Finally , is 11 month too early or too late for neutering? what's the right age ?
He wouldn't stop sniffing other dogs even if he was castrated ! Its what dogs do - meet and greet (and sniff) !
I'd try to find a more amenable boarding kennel to one which insists on neutered dogs !
Health issues are more likely to arise in neutered dogs than in entire ones. Leave him be if you possible can !
I can appreciate leaving a dog intact if/when it is owned by a breeder. After all, they are equipped to keep their animals separated during mating season unless they are specifically pairing two lines. However, I personally believe that pets should be nuetered and spayed.
First, because breeders take care to make sure "accidents" don't happen. And an intact male in the presence of a bitch in season is going to do everything he can to "complete his mission!" It doesn't matter if she's the same breed, smaller, larger, cute, a good match, or comes from the wrong side of the tracks. It only matters that she's in season. As a dog park regular, most of us roll our eyes when someone brings in an intact male. I'll let you guess how most of us feel when someone shows up with a bitch in season!
And that's the second issue. Most "dog owners" don't have a clue about what they should look for, or how they can tell if their bitch is in season. They don't know how long it lasts. Or what phases are involved. Or anything else about how to best handle the situation. And many of them really don't care. They think it's cute that their bitch gets knocked up, "it's a great way for the kids to learn" mentality.
Combine the first two points and you can begin to understand where Basenji mixes come from. It is my understanding that Basenji breeders frown on diluting the breed.
The third point is how dogs (especially in a dog park environment) behave around a bitch in heat. Any given dog can go from mildly agressive to murderous in seconds if they believe they will not be the winning suitor of a bitch in heat.
I was unaware when my Doberman bitch went into season (several decades ago). Two dogs followed her home and stood on the stoop (at the door) waiting for me to let her come back out to "play"... In a split second, much to my horror, the larger of the dogs lowered his head and broke the neck of the smaller contender. There was no aggression. No warning growl. No blood. No "I'll fight you for her." Just "survival of the fittest" instincts. (All of my bitches have gotten spayed since then!)
So, in summary: it makes sense for breeders to keep their dogs intact, not necessarily the "average" dog owner. Make the best decision for your individual situation, but try to think through all the potential outcomes.
I'd better bow out of this thread, Elbrant. Over here, I know many breeders, but nary a one who would just sell a Basenji puppy without making sure the new owner knew a great deal about the breed, characteristics, health, et al. We all make sure they've read as much as they can find, and hand out loads of information. You give the impression - at least, this is the impression I get - that US breeders sell puppies without doing any checks on people they sell to ? Never mind. Don't answer that ! We are poles apart on this issue, and I should hate for us to fall out over it..
When I was growing up, most male dogs I encountered were left intact, including our family Sheltie. Bitches kept as pets were mostly spayed, but not always. There were no leash laws, but a law stating that dogs off their own property should be "under the control" of the owner/handler, and a lot of people (including us) walked their dogs off leash on a regular basis. We would encounter loose dogs several times on a walk, and generally these dogs were not quarrelsome, although males were intact. My Basenji bitches were all spayed, but the two I raised from pups had seasons before spaying, my show bitch had several, without incident. Although there were intact and running loose males in the area, we had zero problems with them hanging around. I realize this isn't always the case, but with a little care there is no reason for unwanted puppies.
My "other" breed was Border Collie. In season bitches can run at trials, and a male trial dog is said to be insufficiently serious about his work if he is distracted! Some trials request an in season bitch to run last, but not all.
Just to say it doesn't have to be a big deal if the owner is responsible, and for that matter breeders who insist their pups be neutered really have no good way to enforce this unless they do the deed before the pup is placed. Of course, if they want the pup shown it can't be neutered until the end of the show career anyhow.....
@zande - Yes different for different parts of the world and there is a huge problem with people breeding "whatever" just to have puppies.... to see (puppy mills/BYB) and never doing any health testing. And yes Sally..... puppy mills/BYB selling to whoever has the dollars. They ship puppies all over the US, never met the new owners, do NO background checking, tell the people exactly what they want to hear.
I have a male and female and experienced heat season for the first time and it lasted 6 weeks! My boy is the sweetest, gentleman. She became very attached to me. On the last two weeks or so, he became insane and all he could think about was getting to her. She hated him and did not want him near her. We did a great job at keeping eye on them at all times, sleeping in separate rooms, hanging out in separate rooms, and doggy diapers helped, separate walks...After going through it; I am now debating which one to spay or neuter. I really don’t want to put them through it. Other than when she is in heat, we love their personalities just the way they are and they are developing so well.
@eliefig Not always easy to tell when a bitch is coming into heat. My Teddy can sense a female coming into heat before her handler sees any signs. As an example, one day in class he began to get agitated, air sniffing, and totally distracted. I asked my classmates if any of their females were in heat. Oh no they all said. The next day one friend said her dog just started to show signs that day. Males can tell sooner than we!
Although it was the 1st for my girl, I knew a couple of weeks before, slight changes in her attitude. I am able to communicate well with her. I am sure the 2nd time is going to be different. My boy had no experience so it took him longer. It’s so difficult to make a decision. I am so torn about it. Wondering if next time is going to be harder.
I'd better bow out of this thread, Elbrant
No need to do that. I respect your opinion and experience as a breeder. I was merely trying to offer some contrast between a breeder owner and a pet owner. Pet owners can be extremly knowledgable and still not know anything about breeding. That doesn't make them bad Basenji parents. No ill will. I'm old enough to know that we can be different and still value each others input.
@eliefig I am lucky. I have a large garden. We built a kind of kennel, a large shed with bed boxes, overhead heating and a dog door, in the orchard and fenced it securely, giving a large run among the apple trees.
First sign of season, teeth chattering, girls changing character (more clingy) and the boys were sent to their des. res. in the orchard. From there they were taken out of the back gate and up the main road for walks. The girls were taken out of the front gate (this is a 'L' shaped property with frontage on two roads) and down the lane. They all stayed on leads for the duration.
But even with 5 nubile ladies, the season season never lasted more than a month cos all the girls just looked at each other and asked 'is it that time ?' and came in.
I put a nursery alarm in the boys' quarters so I could share the village's pain at two in the morning when the timber-wolfing started.
Once it was over, everyone came back to live in the typical farm-house kitchen and free hunting in the woods resumed.
As the pack size decreased, I never left just a single boy up in the orchard, he had a nice heavy duty crate in my office, doors were kept shut and the boy left the house by the front door and was walked down the lane. A switch from when we had three boys.
I always say in a future incarnation I want to be a Basenji owned by me !